Janet remembered me telling her one day of a young lad who could not have been much older than nine years of age, and he had gone to the auction rooms to try and buy some bicycles which I had purchased from a cycle shop that was closing down.
It was evident that the young lad had wanted a racing bike, and only had twenty pounds on him, and the bikes were selling and every time he would say Twenty pounds, each time the racers sold for almost eighty to one hundred pounds.
I had seen the bike the young boy was standing next to, and it was very evident that this was the bike he had set his heart on, so I wrote a quick note to the auctioneer who knew me by then, as he had been selling our items for some months by then.
The auctioneer quickly read the note and smiled, and when this bike came to be sold, he let the bidding carry on, and it went up to ninety-five pounds, he put the hammer down, and said sold to that young man by the bike.
The lad was confused as he knew he did not have that sort of money, and then at the end of the auction, he walked over to the boy and asked him to give his twenty pounds.
The young lad handed over the pocket money in fifty pence pieces and the odd pound coin, and he then gave him the racer, and as the young lad took hold of the bike he could not believe that it was his, he took a few steps away and rested on a fence, and went over to the auctioneer and hugged him, thanking him for the wonderful bike.
Janet loved me and knew I had a truly kind heart, a few days later a group of thugs appeared at one of the homes I was called to give a quote to, fortunately as my daughter was wearing her spectacles, the several men who accompanied them realized what was happening and within a matter of minutes they were by Sandhi’s and my side to help us.
Each one of the thugs were arrested and charged with attempt to grievous harm with a weapon, and because of the past history with me and Emma, the police objected to bail, and the courts agreed.
That instantly reduced some of the syndicate’s mussel power, so Sandhi and I set about doing everything that we could to expose the syndicate for their actions and decided to set about a further undercover operation.
I had purchased a Victorian home, and had it furnished with period high quality items, and included in it two of my hand made rocking horses and a selection of handmade toys, a handmade cabinet and a handmade dining table and eight chairs with two been high back carver chairs.
The Rocking horses were for sale by order only at thirteen thousand pounds each, the cabinet was for sale at twenty-five thousand, and the dining table and chairs was valued at a hundred and five thousand.
Now admitting only company’s directors of multinational business and oil rich countries usually paid these prices, however the quality was there and the other items in the home were purchased from Harrods in London and were of top quality.
So, I had acquired a Royal Dalton full dinner set, of eight matching plates, down to everything needed for such a set, included the meat platters, and a beautiful full solid silver set of cutlery again from Harrods.
The full value of every item in the home was just over two hundred thousand pounds. The house was set in an expensive part of London, but certainly not the elite sector.
Again, I had the home expertly wired with full concealed CCTV cameras, and four cameras in every room, so every angle was covered with full HD recording, and sound.
I then realized I had not included photos and jewellery items which a person would undoubtedly have. So, I set about putting in some of the amber jewellery my friend’s daughter had made, and again who use to work for me, that was until I sold that business to a friend.
There were hundreds of items to choose from the various home clearances I had done in the past, including silver photo frames, with period photos in, and then I laid the trap.
I had Sandhi visit the home first with one of my daughters, and they gave a genuine honest appraisal of everything they had and included that certain items of which they were unsure of the value, that they would come back and give them an honest answer.
They did exactly that, and the dining table and two rocking horses they could not quote on, also the diner service and silver cutlery, but they returned the next day with computer print outs and web address and showed the exact items and quoted an honest price on everything.
They gave the usual 60% offer, explaining the true value, and even made the offer of taking everything recoded and signed for to an auction and only taking the usual 20% plus petrol and one employee’s wages for the hours worked.
They we invited each member of the syndicate to quote and about twenty other London and local dealers to quote. Only three dealers other than myself and Sandhi came close by offering 49% and one offering just under 58% of the true value.
Every member of the syndicate offered less than 20% of the true value, and deliberately telling untruths and misleading the owner of their true value, five of the syndicate members even tried telling the owner the furniture was fakes and only worth the value of the wood, one even tried to say they could never sell such items anymore and offered to take certain ones off her hands at no charge as he was being kind hearted.
They tried saying the diners service was missing items, and the silver was forged and not genuine, stating all kind of incredible examples of how it was illegal to sell incorrectly stamped silver and that they could end up in jail.
It was stunningly stupid of them to say such things, however they thought they were talking to an old lady who had inherited it and she had no family to pass it onto and just did not know what to do with it.
Three dealers and two syndicate members were filmed pocketing valuable rings, and several broaches with rubies and diamond studs.
The items had been coated with a special chemical with identified them, and had a miniature tracking device on replaced clasps, which enabled the police to find where they were at a later time.
The whole operation was filmed and with the polices co-operation, and later used as evidence in court along with acquired evidence in the auction rooms and of them taking prior to actions plus the evidence acquired from the secretary working in one of their offices.
When it had gone to court, they had put up an expensive fight using the best solicitors and barristers that they could afford. However, once it was realized that the Armstrong family was backing the legal costs as it was one of their business which they had tried to put out of business and make bankrupt.
They knew then their case was lost, as I could afford a team of barristers of the highest level, and simply drag the case out until they themselves ran out of money.
Incredibly that is exactly what did happen in the end, and every single member of the syndicate lost their homes and business by been forced by the banks into bankruptcy.
In the end it was Sandhi and myself and the legal teams who won, as for the syndicate members, they were jailed for four years each, and when I offered the evidence video recordings for sale to the highest bidders, once the courts were done with their use.
I gained a further thirty-three thousand pounds for the recordings, purchased by a private filming franchise, which was to later sell the viewing rights to sky TV.
I donated the money to a charity and purchased the jailed syndicate member’s old homes and stock, including their vans and BMW and Mercedes cars, for a fraction of their true value. I then contacted the business which were destroyed and offered the shops and stock plus vans to them, if they formed a cooperative and united together to work as a team, and did it honestly, with my holding fifty-one percent of the share value.
Those who had been declared bankrupt and it was still in force, I cleared their debts and came to a private arrangement for repayment, signed and agreed by my legal team. I basically tried to give them back some of their dignity and self-respect, and they realized they were being given a second chance and as long as they were honest in their dealings, they could make a fare living.
Amazingly for my daughters, it had got into the blood as the traders say, and they genuinely wanted to carry on running the business with Sandhi. It had taken seven years in total from the start of my becoming involved until I had given the business over to my two daughters to run on my behalf and with our friend and partner Sandhi.
In that time Emma had her wedding; it had been an incredibly emotive time and had been filmed by national TV because of the media coverage with her kidnapping.
All had gone very much like a fairy tale wedding, and Emma had everything most people could ever dream of, however, there had been a time when she had honestly thought that this day would never arrive, as she was still at times haunted by the memory as to when she had first been kidnapped, and before the kidnappers had forced her to become dependent on the heroin.
In those early days the fear had gripped her, and for a time after the shock had subsided, her body and mind had gone into what she could only assume was some kind of a survival mode. After she had gone through all fantasies of trying to escape, the realisation had dawned on her that she was to never see her family again, and that she would never for full her dream of becoming married within the Temple.
She had prayed and tried so hard to keep her faith and her eyes fixed on Father God, however when her kidnappers constantly beat her and taunted and raped her, there came a time when she had prayed for death.
Then came the guilt, the feelings of confusion and of why should she be asking father God to take her life, did she have that right, was it a sin to have such thoughts, her upbringing from within the church had told her suicide was a sin. But she knew this was to become a living hell, and there were times when she had awoken only to overhear her captors talking about her, and stating how they were going to make her pay for their clients suffering.
The fear had gripped her heart and even though she tried so hard to keep her eyes and her mind focused on Father God, that when she found herself failing, the guilt made her feel even more afraid.
Her mind was twisted in pain, and in such confusion that it was all she could do was to try and stay alive yet wishing she could die so she could be away from the pain.
Her thoughts often drifted to her family and of how they must be feeling, she thought of Andrew and knew that his heart would be shattered, yet he was so strong, and he had some kind of gift, that enabled him to stay so focused, as if he knew the very mind of Father God.
Then one evening only days before her body had given in to the demon of heroin, she had a dream vision, when she saw a mighty angels standing by her side, he was telling her that for a time she would suffer and have to face even more abuse, and that as much as Father God knew she wanted to die, that he would in time deliver her from this living hell.
It had been such a strange dream, and when she had awoken, she was unsure if it had been real or just a drug induced dream. Sadly a few hours later the abuse intensified, and the heroin became something she could no longer live without.
Now, that was all gone, and a time in the past, her future was now to be Andrews’s wife and mother to the child, she was sealed within the temple to Andrew and her family. She had to put the past behind her and to live for the future, a new life and a new beginning.